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1.  An Investigation of Associations Between Clinicians’ Ethnic or Racial Bias and Hypertension Treatment, Medication Adherence and Blood Pressure Control 
Few studies have directly investigated the association of clinicians’ implicit (unconscious) bias with health care disparities in clinical settings.
To determine if clinicians’ implicit ethnic or racial bias is associated with processes and outcomes of treatment for hypertension among black and Latino patients, relative to white patients.
Primary care clinicians completed Implicit Association Tests of ethnic and racial bias. Electronic medical records were queried for a stratified, random sample of the clinicians’ black, Latino and white patients to assess treatment intensification, adherence and control of hypertension. Multilevel random coefficient models assessed the associations between clinicians’ implicit biases and ethnic or racial differences in hypertension care and outcomes.
Standard measures of treatment intensification and medication adherence were calculated from pharmacy refills. Hypertension control was assessed by the percentage of time that patients met blood pressure goals recorded during primary care visits.
One hundred and thirty-eight primary care clinicians and 4,794 patients with hypertension participated. Black patients received equivalent treatment intensification, but had lower medication adherence and worse hypertension control than white patients; Latino patients received equivalent treatment intensification and had similar hypertension control, but lower medication adherence than white patients. Differences in treatment intensification, medication adherence and hypertension control were unrelated to clinician implicit bias for black patients (P = 0.85, P = 0.06 and P = 0.31, respectively) and for Latino patients (P = 0.55, P = 0.40 and P = 0.79, respectively). An increase in clinician bias from average to strong was associated with a relative change of less than 5 % in all outcomes for black and Latino patients.
Implicit bias did not affect clinicians’ provision of care to their minority patients, nor did it affect the patients’ outcomes. The identification of health care contexts in which bias does not impact outcomes can assist both patients and clinicians in their efforts to build trust and partnership.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-014-2795-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4061371  PMID: 24549521
hypertension; healthcare disparities; discrimination; implicit bias; race/ethnicity; quality
2.  Unconscious (Implicit) Bias and Health Disparities: Where Do We Go from Here? 
The Permanente Journal  2011;15(2):71-78.
Disparities in health care are of great concern, with much attention focused on the potential for unconscious (implicit) bias to play a role in this problem. Some initial studies have been conducted, but the empirical research has lagged. This article provides a research roadmap that spans investigations of the presence of implicit bias in health care settings, identification of mechanisms through which implicit bias operates, and interventions that may prevent or ameliorate its effects. The goal of the roadmap is to expand and revitalize efforts to understand implicit bias and, ultimately, eliminate health disparities. Concrete suggestions are offered for individuals in different roles, including clinicians, researchers, policymakers, patients, and community members.
PMCID: PMC3140753  PMID: 21841929
3.  Reply to: Should physicians aggressively treat pre-hypertension? 
PMCID: PMC2921611  PMID: 20717475
left ventricular hypertrophy; electrocardiography; cardiovascular risk assessment; racial/ethnic differences
4.  Left Ventricular Hypertrophy and Cardiovascular Mortality by Race and Ethnicity 
The American journal of medicine  2008;121(10):870-875.
Left ventricular hypertrophy is a major independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. The contribution of left ventricular hypertrophy to racial and ethnic differences in cardiovascular mortality is poorly understood.
We used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and from the National Death Index to compare mortality for those with an electrocardiographic (ECG) diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy to those without left ventricular hypertrophy separately for whites, African Americans, and Latinos. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to control for other known prognostic factors.
ECG left ventricular hypertrophy was significantly associated with ten-year cardiovascular mortality in all three racial/ethnic groups, both unadjusted and adjusted for other known prognostic factors. The hazard ratio for this association was significantly greater for African Americans (2.31, 95% CI 1.55–3.42) than for whites and Latinos (1.32, 95% CI 1.14–1.76 and 2.11, 95% CI 1.35–3.30 respectively) independent of systolic blood pressure.
ECG left ventricular hypertrophy contributes more to the risk of cardiovascular mortality in African Americans than it does in Whites. Using regression of ECG left ventricular hypertrophy as a goal of therapy might be a means to reduce racial differences in cardiovascular mortality; prospective validation is required.
PMCID: PMC2574427  PMID: 18823858
left ventricular hypertrophy; electrocardiography; cardiovascular risk assessment; racial/ethnic differences
5.  Thresholds in the Relationship between Mortality and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy Defined by Electrocardiography 
Journal of electrocardiology  2008;41(4):342-350.
Electrocardiographic criteria for the diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy in current use were defined using autopsy results or echocardiography; criteria defined using mortality might be more clinically meaningful.
Using data from NHANES III, we selected electrocardiographic measures that best differentiated those surviving at five years from those who did not. We identified voltage thresholds using regression techniques, and then compared survival for subjects above and below the thresholds.
Cornell voltage, Cornell product, and Novacode estimate of left ventricular mass index were discriminative for mortality and had identifiable thresholds present in their relationships with mortality. Independent of systolic blood pressure, there were significant associations with five-year mortality for Novacode index above threshold; hazard ratios were 1.58 for women and 1.27 for men, and for five-year cardiovascular mortality were 1.78 for women and 2.34 for men.
Electrocardiographic criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy validated against mortality might be clinically useful.
PMCID: PMC2556300  PMID: 18342879
6.  Decision Making in Advanced Heart Failure A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association 
Circulation  2012;125(15):1928-1952.
PMCID: PMC3893703  PMID: 22392529
AHA Scientific Statements; communication; decision making; heart failure; heart-assist device; palliative care; prognosis; transplantation
7.  Using Community Data to Test the Discriminate Validity of Ethnic/Racial Group IATs 
Zeitschrift fur Psychologie  2010;218(1):10.1027/0044-3409/a000006.
The present study used a multi-method, multi-measure, multi-group approach to investigate the discriminant validity of prejudice-related IATs. Community members from three ethnic/racial groups in the U.S. completed IATs and explicit measures of attitudes toward African Americans and Latinos, with Whites used as the comparison group. The results of this study provided strong support for the discriminant validity of the IATs by showing, (a) expected patterns of variation among the three participant groups that were unique to each IAT, (b) unique relations between responses on each IAT and corresponding (same-group) explicit measures of prejudice, and (c) invariance across the three participant groups in the degree to which the attitude measures loaded on two latent factors, indicating distinct attitudes toward African Americans and Latinos.
PMCID: PMC3882026  PMID: 24404433
8.  An Assessment of Biases Against Latinos and African Americans Among Primary Care Providers and Community Members 
American journal of public health  2012;103(1):10.2105/AJPH.2012.300812.
This study assessed implicit and explicit bias against both Latinos and African Americans, among experienced primary care providers (PCPs) and community members (CMs) in the same geographic area.
210 PCPs and 190 CMs from three health care organizations in the Denver metro area completed Implicit Association Tests and self-report measures of implicit and explicit bias, respectively.
With a 60% participation rate, the PCPs demonstrated substantial implicit bias against both Latinos and African Americans, but this was no different from CMs. Explicit bias was largely absent in both groups. Adjustment for background characteristics showed the PCPs to have slightly weaker ethnic/racial bias than CMs.
This research provides the first evidence of implicit bias against Latinos in health care, as well as confirming prior findings of implicit bias against African Americans. The lack of substantive differences in bias between the experienced PCPs and CMs suggests a wider societal problem. At the same time, the wide range of implicit bias suggests that bias in healthcare is neither uniform nor inevitable, and important lessons may be learned from providers who do not exhibit bias.
PMCID: PMC3518332  PMID: 23153155
9.  Acculturation and Outcomes among Patients with Heart Failure 
Circulation. Heart failure  2012;5(2):160-166.
Acculturation to U.S. society among minority patients may influence health outcomes beyond race and ethnicity alone. In particular, those who are foreign-born and who do not speak English as their primary language may have greater challenges interacting with the health care system and thus be at greater risk for adverse outcomes.
Methods and Results
We studied patients hospitalized with a principal discharge diagnosis of HF between January 2000 and December 2007 in an integrated delivery system that cares for minority patients. Individuals were defined as having low acculturation if their primary language was not English and their country of birth was outside of the U.S. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to determine the independent risk of 30-day rehospitalization and 1-year mortality, respectively. Candidate adjustment variables included demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity), coexisting illnesses, laboratory values, left ventricular systolic function, and characteristics of the index admission. Of 1,268 patients, 30% (n=379) were Black, 39% (n=498) Hispanic, and 27% (n= 348) White. Eighteen percent (n=228) had low acculturation. After adjustment, low acculturation was associated with a higher risk of readmission at 30 days (OR 1.70; 95% CI 1.07-2.68) but not 1-year all-cause mortality (HR 0.69; 95% CI 0.42-1.14).
Patients with HF who are foreign-born and do not speak English as their primary language have a greater risk of rehospitalization, independent of clinical factors and race/ethnicity. Future studies should evaluate whether culturally concordant interventions focusing on such patients may improve outcomes for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3786352  PMID: 22247483
heart failure; readmission; survival; risk factors; health disparities
10.  Simultaneous Control of Diabetes, Hypertension, and Hyperlipidemia in Two Health Systems 
Many individuals with diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia have difficulty achieving control of all three conditions. We assessed the incidence and duration of simultaneous control of hyperglycemia, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in patients from two health care systems in Colorado.
Methods and Results
Retrospective cohort study of adults at Denver Health (DH) and Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KP) with diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia from 2000 through 2008. Over a median of 4.0 and 4.4 years, 16% and 30% of individuals at DH and KP achieved the primary outcome (simultaneous control with a glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) < 7.0%, blood pressure < 130/80 mmHg and LDL cholesterol < 100 mg/dL), respectively. With less strict goals (HbA1c < 8.0%, BP < 140/90 mmHg, and LDL cholesterol < 130 mg/dL), 44% and 70% of individuals at DH and KP achieved simultaneous control. Socio-demographic characteristics (increasing age, white ethnicity), and the presence of cardiovascular disease or other comorbidities were significantly but not strongly predictive of achieving simultaneous control in multivariable models. Simultaneous control was less likely as severity of the underlying conditions increased, and more likely as medication adherence increased.
Simultaneous control of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia was uncommon and generally transient. Less stringent goals had a relatively large effect on the proportion achieving simultaneous control. Individuals who simultaneously achieve multiple treatment goals may provide insight into self-care strategies for individuals with comorbid health conditions.
PMCID: PMC3590111  PMID: 22851534
Diabetes mellitus; hypertension; hypercholesterolemia; epidemiology
11.  Reduction in Acute Myocardial Infarction Mortality in the United States 
Jama  2009;302(7):767-773.
During the last 2 decades, health care professional, consumer, and payer organizations have sought to improve outcomes for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, little has been reported about improvements in hospital short-term mortality rates or reductions in between-hospital variation in short-term mortality rates.
To estimate hospital-level 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMRs) for patients discharged with AMI.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Observational study using administrative data and a validated risk model to evaluate 3 195 672 discharges in 2 755 370 patients discharged from nonfederal acute care hospitals in the United States between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2006. Patients were 65 years or older (mean, 78 years) and had at least a 12-month history of fee-for-service enrollment prior to the index hospitalization. Patients discharged alive within 1 day of an admission not against medical advice were excluded, because it is unlikely that these patients had sustained an AMI.
Main Outcome Measure
Hospital-specific 30-day all-cause RSMR.
At the patient level, the odds of dying within 30 days of admission if treated at a hospital 1 SD above the national average relative to that if treated at a hospital 1 SD below the national average were 1.63 (95% CI, 1.60-1.65) in 1995 and 1.56 (95% CI, 1.53-1.60) in 2006. In terms of hospital-specific RSMRs, a decrease from 18.8% in 1995 to 15.8% in 2006 was observed (odds ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.75-0.77). A reduction in between-hospital heterogeneity in the RSMRs was also observed: the coefficient of variation decreased from 11.2% in 1995 to 10.8%, the interquartile range from 2.8% to 2.1%, and the between-hospital variance from 4.4% to 2.9%.
Between 1995 and 2006, the risk-standardized hospital mortality rate for Medicare patients discharged with AMI showed a significant decrease, as did between-hospital variation.
PMCID: PMC3349070  PMID: 19690309
12.  Circulating adiponectin levels are lower in Latino versus non-Latino white patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, independent of adiposity measures 
Latinos in the United States have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes than non-Latino whites, even after controlling for adiposity. Decreased adiponectin is associated with insulin resistance and predicts T2DM, and therefore may mediate this ethnic difference. We compared total and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin in Latino versus white individuals, identified factors associated with adiponectin in each ethnic group, and measured the contribution of adiponectin to ethnic differences in insulin resistance.
We utilized cross-sectional data from subjects in the Latinos Using Cardio Health Actions to reduce Risk study. Participants were Latino (n = 119) and non-Latino white (n = 60) men and women with hypertension and at least one other risk factor for CVD (age 61 ± 10 yrs, 49% with T2DM), seen at an integrated community health and hospital system in Denver, Colorado. Total and HMW adiponectin was measured by RIA and ELISA respectively. Fasting glucose and insulin were used to calculate the homeostasis model insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR). Variables independently associated with adiponectin levels were identified by linear regression analyses. Adiponectin's contribution to ethnic differences in insulin resistance was assessed in multivariate linear regression models of Latino ethnicity, with logHOMA-IR as a dependent variable, adjusting for possible confounders including age, gender, adiposity, and renal function.
Mean adiponectin levels were lower in Latino than white patients (beta estimates: -4.5 (-6.4, -2.5), p < 0.001 and -1.6 (-2.7, -0.5), p < 0.005 for total and HMW adiponectin), independent of age, gender, BMI/waist circumference, thiazolidinedione use, diabetes status, and renal function. An expected negative association between adiponectin and waist circumference was seen among women and non-Latino white men, but no relationship between these two variables was observed among Latino men. Ethnic differences in logHOMA-IR were no longer observed after controlling for adiponectin levels.
Among patients with CVD risk, total and HMW adiponectin is lower in Latinos, independent of adiposity and other known regulators of adiponectin. Ethnic differences in adiponectin regulation may exist and future research in this area is warranted. Adiponectin levels accounted for the observed variability in insulin resistance, suggesting a contribution of decreased adiponectin to insulin resistance in Latino populations.
PMCID: PMC3141565  PMID: 21736747
13.  Pulse wave velocity and carotid atherosclerosis in White and Latino patients with hypertension 
Preventive cardiology has expanded beyond coronary heart disease towards prevention of a broader spectrum of cardiovascular diseases. Ethnic minorities are at proportionately greater risk for developing extracoronary vascular disease including heart failure and cerebrovascular disease.
We performed a cross sectional study of Latino and White hypertension patients in a safety-net healthcare system. Framingham risk factors, markers of inflammation (hsCRP, LPpLA2), arterial stiffness (Pulse wave velocity, augmentation index, and central aortic pressure), and endothelial function (brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation) were measured. Univariate and multivariable associations between these parameters and an index of extracoronary atherosclerosis (carotid intima media thickness) was performed.
Among 177 subjects, mean age was 62 years, 67% were female, and 67% were Latino. In univariate analysis, markers associated with carotid intima media thickness (IMT) at p < 0.25 included pulse wave velocity (PWV), augmentation index (AIx), central aortic pressure (cAP), and LpPLA2 activity rank. However, AIx, cAP, and LpPLA2 activity were not significantly associated with carotid IMT after adjusting for Framingham risk factors (all p > .10). Only PWV retained a significant association with carotid IMT independent of the Framingham general risk profile parameters (p = .016). No statistically significant interactions between Framingham and other independent variables with ethnicity (all p > .05) were observed.
In this safety net cohort, PWV is a potentially useful adjunctive atherosclerotic risk marker independent of traditional risk factors and irrespective of ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC3080337  PMID: 21481252
Pulse wave velocity; hypertension; atherosclerosis; carotid intima media thickness; Latino; inflammatory markers; augmentation index; central aortic pressure; C-reactive protein
14.  Prediction of cardiovascular death in racial/ethnic minorities using Framingham risk factors 
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) derived from the Framingham study are widely used to guide preventive efforts. It remains unclear whether these risk factors predict CVD death in racial/ethnic minorities as well as they do in the predominately white Framingham cohorts.
Methods and Results
Using linked data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994) and the National Death Index, we developed Cox proportional-hazard models that predicted time to cardiovascular death separately for non-Hispanic white (NHW), non-Hispanic black (NHB) and Mexican American (MA) participants aged 40-80 with no previous CVD. We compared calibration and discrimination for the three racial/ethnic models. We also plotted predicted 10-year CVD mortality by age for the three racial/ethnic groups while holding other risk factors constant. 3437 NHW, 1854 NHB and 1834 MA subjects met inclusion criteria. Goodness of fit chi-square tests demonstrated adequate calibration for the three models (NHW, p=0.49; NHB, p=0.47; MA, p=0.55 and areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves demonstrated similar discrimination (c-statistics-NHW=0.8126; NHB=0.7679; and MA=0.7854). Older age was more strongly associated with CVD mortality in NHWs (HR-3.37, 95%CI-2.80, 4.05) than NHBs (HR-2.29, 95%CI-1.91, 2.75) and was intermediate in MAs (HR-2.46, 95%CI-1.95, 3.11). Predicted 10-year mortality was highest for NHBs across all age ranges and was higher for MAs than NHWs until late in the seventh decade.
Framingham risk factors predict CVD mortality equally well in NHWs, NHBs and MAs, but the strength of the association between individual risk factors and CVD mortality differs by race and ethnicity. When other risk factors are held constant, minority individuals are at higher risk of CVD mortality at younger ages than NHWs.
PMCID: PMC2853913  PMID: 20124526
Risk factors; cardiovascular diseases; prevention; epidemiology
15.  Association of Door-to-Balloon Time and Mortality in Patients ≥65 Years With ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Undergoing Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention 
The American journal of cardiology  2009;104(9):1198-1203.
Current guidelines recommend ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients receive primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) within 90 minutes of admission, although there is conflicting data regarding the relationship between time to treatment and mortality in these patients. We used logistic regression analyses employing fractional polynomial model to evaluate the association between door-to-balloon time and one-year mortality in STEMI patients age ≥65 years undergoing primary PCI in 1994–96 (n=1,932). Median door-to-balloon time was 128 minutes (interquartile range 92–178, 24.2% treated within 90 minutes). Overall one-year mortality was 21.1%. Longer door-to-balloon times were associated with higher one-year mortality in a continuous, nonlinear fashion (30 minutes 10.9%, 60 minutes 13.6%, 90 minutes 16.5%, 120 minutes 19.5%, 150 minutes 22.5%, 180 minutes 25.3%, 210 minutes 27.9%). The nature of the association between door-to-balloon time and one-year mortality was best modeled by a second-degree fractional polynomial (P<0.001). Findings were similar after multivariable adjustment as any increase in door-to-balloon time was associated with successive increases in patients’ one-year mortality (30 minutes 8.8%, 60 minutes 12.9%, 90 minutes 16.6%, 120 minutes 19.9%, 150 minutes 22.9%, 180 minutes 25.5%, 210 minutes 27.7%). In conclusion, any delay in primary PCI is associated with increased one-year mortality, suggesting efforts should focus on reducing time to treatment as much as possible, even among those centers currently providing primary PCI within 90 minutes.
PMCID: PMC2790921  PMID: 19840562
primary PCI; door-to-balloon time; mortality
16.  Socio-Demographic and Clinical Characteristics are Not Clinically Useful Predictors of Refill Adherence in Patients with Hypertension 
Although many studies have identified patient characteristics or chronic diseases associated with medication adherence, the clinical utility of such predictors has rarely been assessed. We attempted to develop clinical prediction rules for adherence with antihypertensive medications in two health care delivery systems.
Methods and Results
Retrospective cohort studies of hypertension registries in an inner-city health care delivery system (N = 17176) and a health maintenance organization (N = 94297) in Denver, Colorado. Adherence was defined by acquisition of 80% or more of antihypertensive medications.
A multivariable model in the inner-city system found that adherent patients (36.3% of the total) were more likely than non-adherent patients to be older, white, married, and acculturated in US society, to have diabetes or cerebrovascular disease, not to abuse alcohol or controlled substances, and to be prescribed less than three antihypertensive medications. Although statistically significant, all multivariate odds ratios were 1.7 or less, and the model did not accurately discriminate adherent from non-adherent patients (C-statistic = 0.606). In the health maintenance organization, where 72.1% of patients were adherent, significant but weak associations existed between adherence and older age, white race, the lack of alcohol abuse, and fewer antihypertensive medications. The multivariate model again failed to accurately discriminate adherent from non-adherent individuals (C-statistic = 0.576).
Although certain socio-demographic characteristics or clinical diagnoses are statistically associated with adherence to refills of antihypertensive medications, a combination of these characteristics is not sufficiently accurate to allow clinicians to predict whether their patients will be adherent with treatment.
PMCID: PMC2768296  PMID: 20031876
drugs; hypertension; prevention
17.  Symptom Burden, Depression, and Spiritual Well-Being: A Comparison of Heart Failure and Advanced Cancer Patients 
A lower proportion of patients with chronic heart failure receive palliative care compared to patients with advanced cancer.
We examined the relative need for palliative care in the two conditions by comparing symptom burden, psychological well-being, and spiritual well-being in heart failure and cancer patients.
This was a cross-sectional study.
Sixty outpatients with symptomatic heart failure and 30 outpatients with advanced lung or pancreatic cancer.
Symptom burden (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale-Short Form), depression symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form), and spiritual well-being (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-Being scale).
Overall, the heart failure patients and the cancer patients had similar numbers of physical symptoms (9.1 vs. 8.6, p = 0.79), depression scores (3.9 vs. 3.2, p = 0.53), and spiritual well-being (35.9 vs. 39.0, p = 0.31) after adjustment for age, gender, marital status, education, and income. Symptom burden, depression symptoms, and spiritual well-being were also similar among heart failure patients with ejection fraction ≤30, ejection fraction >30, and cancer patients. Heart failure patients with worse heart failure-related health status had a greater number of physical symptoms (13.2 vs. 8.6, p = 0.03), higher depression scores (6.7 vs. 3.2, p = 0.001), and lower spiritual well-being (29.0 vs. 38.9, p < 0.01) than patients with advanced cancer.
Patients with symptomatic heart failure and advanced cancer have similar needs for palliative care as assessed by symptom burden, depression, and spiritual well-being. This implies that heart failure patients, particularly those with more severe heart failure, need the option of palliative care just as cancer patients do.
PMCID: PMC2669863  PMID: 19288160
heart failure; quality of life; palliative; symptoms; spirituality; depression
18.  Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors in Older Persons with Acute Myocardial Infarction: Evidence for an Age–Statin Interaction 
To characterize the relationship between hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and outcomes in older persons with acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Observational study.
Acute care hospitals in the United States from April 1998 to June 2001.
Medicare patients aged 65 and older with a principal discharge diagnosis of AMI (N = 65,020) who did and did not receive a discharge prescription for statins.
The primary outcome of interest was all-cause mortality at 3 years after discharge.
Of 23,013 patients with AMI assessed, 5,513 (24.0%) were receiving a statin at discharge. Nearly 40% of eligible patients (n =8,452) were aged 80 and older, of whom 1,310 (15.5%) were receiving a statin at discharge. In a multivariable model taking into account demographic, clinical, physician and hospital characteristics, and propensity score, discharge statin therapy was associated with significantly lower 3-year mortality (hazard ratio (HR) =0.89 (95% confidence interval (CI) =0.83–0.96)). In an analysis stratified by age, discharge statins were associated with lower mortality in patients younger than 80 (HR =0.84, 95% CI =0.76–0.92) but not in those aged 80 and older (HR =0.97, 95% CI =0.87–1.09).
Statin therapy is associated with lower mortality in older patients with AMI younger than 80 but not in those aged 80 and older, as a group. This finding questions whether statin efficacy data in younger patients can be broadly applied to the very old and indicates the need for further study of this group.
PMCID: PMC2797316  PMID: 16551308
lipids; myocardial infarction; elderly; treatment
19.  Regional Variations in Racial Differences in the Treatment of Elderly Patients Hospitalized with Acute Myocardial Infarction 
The American journal of medicine  2004;117(11):811-822.
Racial differences in the treatment of patients with myocardial infarction are often presented as nationally consistent patterns of care, despite known regional variations in quality of care. We sought to determine whether racial differences in myocardial infarction treatment vary by U.S. census region.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of medical record data from 138,938 elderly fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with myocardial infarction between 1994 and 1996. Patients were evaluated for the use (admission, discharge) of aspirin and beta-blockers, and cardiac procedures (cardiac catheterization, any coronary revascularization) within 60 days of admission.
Nationally, black patients had lower crude rates of aspirin and beta-blocker use, cardiac catheterization, and coronary revascularization than did white patients. Racial differences in treatment, however, varied by region. Black patients in the Northeast had rates of aspirin use that were similar to those of white patients on admission (50.6% vs. 49.8%, P = 0.58) and at discharge (77.5% vs. 74.2%, P = 0.07), whereas racial differences were observed in the South (admission: 43.7% vs. 48.8%, P < 0.001; discharge: 69.5% vs. 73.2%, P < 0.001), Midwest (admission: 48.4% vs. 52.3%, P = 0.004), and West (admission: 49.2% vs. 56.2%, P < 0.001; discharge: 70.7% vs. 76.2%, P = 0.02). Racial differences in beta-blocker use were comparable across regions (admission: P = 0.59, discharge: P = 0.89). There were no differences in cardiac catheterization use among black and white patients in the Northeast (38.9% vs. 40.5%, P = 0.24), as opposed to the Midwest (43.3% vs. 48.9%, P < 0.001), South (39.2% vs. 48.5%, P < 0.001), and West (38.3% vs. 48.6%, P < 0.001). Similarly, racial differences in any coronary revascularization use were smallest in the Northeast (22.1% vs. 26.7%, P < 0.001), greater in the Midwest (24.7% vs. 33.5%, P < 0.001), and largest in the South (20.7% vs. 32.0%, P < 0.001) and West (22.9% vs. 33.7%, P < 0.001). Regional variations in racial differences persisted after multivariable adjustment for aspirin on admission (P = 0.09) and any coronary revascularization (P = 0.10).
Racial differences in the use of some therapies for myocardial infarction in patients hospitalized between 1994 and 1996 varied by region, suggesting that national evaluations of racial differences in health care use may obscure potentially important regional variations.
PMCID: PMC2790535  PMID: 15589484
20.  Sex, quality of care, and outcomes of elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure: Findings from the National Heart Failure Project 
American heart journal  2005;149(1):121-128.
Previous studies have demonstrated that women hospitalized for heart failure receive poorer quality of care and have worse outcomes than men. However, these studies were based upon selected patient populations and lacked quality of care measures.
We used data from the National Heart Failure Project, a national sample of fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure in the United States in 1998–1999, to evaluate differences in quality of care and patient outcomes between men and women. Multivariable hierarchical logistic regression models and χ2 analyses were used to examine sex differences in the documentation of left ventricular systolic function (LVSF), prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for patients with left ventricular dysfunction, and mortality within 30 days and 1 year of admission in the study cohort (n = 30 996).
Women had lower overall rates of LVSF assessment than men (64.9% vs 69.5%, P < .001). Among patients classified as candidates for ACE inhibitor prescription, women had lower crude rates of ACE inhibitor prescription than men (70.1% vs 74.2%, P = .015), but treatment rates were similar when evaluating the prescription of ACE inhibitors or ARBs (78.9% women vs 81.3% men, P = .11). Despite lower rates of treatment, women had lower mortality rates than men at 30 days (9.2% vs 11.4%, P < .001) and 1 year (36.2% vs 43.0%, P < .001) after admission. Results were similar after multivariable adjustment.
There were small sex differences in the quality of care provided to fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure, although women had higher rates of survival than men up to 1 year after hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC2790278  PMID: 15660043
21.  Socioeconomic status, treatment, and outcomes among elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure: Findings from the National Heart Failure Project 
American heart journal  2006;152(2):371-378.
Prior studies have reported conflicting findings concerning the association of socioeconomic status (SES), treatment, and outcomes in patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF).
We conducted a retrospective analysis of medical record data from a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with HF between March 1998 and April 1999 (n = 25086) to assess the association of patient SES, treatment, and outcomes. Patients’ SES was designated as lower, lower-middle, higher-middle, and higher using residential ZIP code characteristics. Patients were evaluated for left ventricular systolic function assessment, prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors at discharge, readmission within 1 year of discharge, and mortality within 30 days and 1 year of admission. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to assess the association of SES, quality of care, and outcomes adjusting for patient, physician, and hospital characteristics.
Lower SES patients (relative risk [RR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.87–0.96) were modestly less likely to have had a left ventricular systolic function assessment, but had a similar adjusted likelihood of being prescribed angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.93–1.11) compared with higher SES patients after multivariable adjustment. Socioeconomic status was not associated with 30-day mortality after multivariable adjustment, but lower SES patients had a higher risk of 1-year mortality (RR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19) and readmission within 1 year of discharge (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03–1.12) compared with higher SES patients.
Socioeconomic status in patients hospitalized with HF was not strongly associated with quality of care or 30-day mortality. However, the increased risk of 1-year mortality and readmission among patients of lower SES suggest SES may influence outcomes after hospitalization for HF.
PMCID: PMC2790269  PMID: 16875925
22.  Incident chronic kidney disease and the rate of kidney function decline in individuals with hypertension 
Background. Little is known about the decline of kidney function in patients with normal kidney function at baseline. Our objectives were to (i) identify predictors of incident chronic kidney disease (CKD) and (ii) to estimate rate of decline in kidney function.
Methods. The study used a retrospective cohort of adult patients in a hypertension registry in an inner-city health care delivery system in Denver, Colorado. The primary outcome was development of incident CKD, and the secondary outcome was rate of change of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) over time.
Results. After a mean follow-up of 45 months, 429 (4.1%) of 10 420 patients with hypertension developed CKD. In multivariate models, factors that independently predicted incident CKD were baseline age [odds ratio (OR) 1.13 per 10 years, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03–1.24], baseline eGFR (OR 0.69 per 10 units, 95% CI 0.65–0.73), diabetes (OR 3.66, 95% CI 2.97–4.51) and vascular disease (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.32–2.10). We found no independent association between age, gender or race/ethnicity and eGFR slope. In patients who did not have diabetes or vascular disease, eGFR declined at 1.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year. Diabetes at baseline was associated with an additional decline of 1.38 mL/min/1.73 m2.
Conclusions. Diabetes was the strongest predictor of both incident CKD as well as eGFR slope. Rates of incident CKD or in decline of kidney function did not differ by race or ethnicity in this cohort.
PMCID: PMC2828608  PMID: 19889870
chronic kidney disease; hypertension; progression
23.  Testing Electronic Algorithms to Create Disease Registries in a Safety Net System 
Electronic disease registries are a critical feature of the chronic disease management programs that are used to improve the care of individuals with chronic illnesses. These registries have been developed primarily in managed care settings; use in safety net institutions—organizations whose mission is to serve the uninsured and underserved—has not been described. We sought to assess the feasibility of developing disease registries from electronic data in a safety net institution, focusing on hypertension because of its importance in minority populations. We compared diagnoses obtained from algorithms utilizing electronic data, including laboratory and pharmacy records, against diagnoses derived from chart review. We found good concordance between diagnoses identified from electronic data and those identified by chart review, suggesting that registries of patients with chronic diseases can be developed outside the setting of closed panel managed care organizations.
PMCID: PMC2561200  PMID: 18469416
Hypertension; safety net; chronic disease; disease registries

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